It’s okay to say no to interactive PDF

It’s not much of a secret that I spend quite a bit of time on the front lines of the Adobe forums. Most of the blog posts I’ve written here and at InDesign Secrets are inspired by what I read there. It’s also no secret that I’m generally into short and sweet answers. So, what is it that got me thinking about writing a long blog post?

Lately, I’ve noticed a spike in users posting about frustrations with interactive PDF. In fact, not too many days go by that I don’t see someone trying to use interactive PDF for some ridiculously complicated document that PDF was never intended for. Now, don’t get me wrong…I love pushing the envelope, but there’s a point where you’re just wasting your time and effort and rather than give users the same response over and over again, along with the fact that I haven’t written a blog post in a while, I figured I’d climb up on my soapbox and shout this from my own little mountaintop. Don’t be surprised if you see links to this post show up on the forums.

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Adobe quietly drives a nail into the coffin of CS6

Back in 2013 when Adobe announced that all new Creative Suite releases would be done under the Creative Cloud banner as subscription only, they threw a bone at those who insisted on “owning” their software by continuing to offer CS6 as a perpetually licensed version. At the time they stated that it would be offered indefinitely but with the rapid pace that operating systems and hardware have changed it was inevitable that the time would come that CS6 would show its age and sales would end.

That time appears to be approaching. Until very recently, visiting would allow you buy any CS6 product or even get upgrade pricing if you were a CS5 or CS5.5 license holder. Anyone looking to buy CS6 now will be directed to a new page which states:

Let’s be honest: Some software upgrades are necessary, and others are just nice to have. Upgrading from Creative Suite 6 to Adobe Creative Cloud falls into the first category: It’s essential.

CS6 is almost three years old, and Adobe has no plans to update it. Ever. In contrast, Creative Cloud features all the latest creative software, including more than 500 features that have been added since 2012. Want the latest version of Photoshop or Illustrator? You need to join to Creative Cloud.

Yes, you can still buy CS6 products by calling an Adobe call center, but why would you? The features in Creative Cloud will take your creativity further, with more ways to create, collaborate, and share.  To purchase by phone, call 800-585-0774.

I can’t recall anything quite this blunt in all my years of using Adobe products. This is obviously only the first nail in the coffin. How long til sales are discontinued completely? I don’t know but Adobe continued to offer Pagemaker for sale for more than 10 years from the time development was discontinued so I’m guessing that phone number will be valid for a while yet.

Creative Cloud 2015: What you need to know before installing Adobe’s new desktop applications

Adobe-Creative-Cloud-LogoThere are all new Adobe Creative Cloud desktop applications rolling out now and they should be available to all subscribers within 24 hours. Before installing anything, however, please take a moment or two to read this post. It might help you avoid some frustration.

New install routine uninstalls prior versions

When Adobe released the new versions of their Creative Cloud desktop apps in June 2014, it caused some confusion for its users who didn’t understand why they had more than one version of each application. Taking that confusion seriously, Adobe has made a change to the installation process for the CC2015 versions.

By default, any earlier Creative Cloud version of CC2015 application that you choose to install will be uninstalled (note that Creative Suite versions are not affected). Based on the number of complaints from last year, this will be a welcome change for many, but not all, users. I for one use plugins that aren’t updated yet for use in InDesign CC2015 so I need to keep CC2014 handy. The good news is that Adobe hasn’t forgotten us and will provide the option to keep the old versions installed.

Update: InDesign CC2015 will only support the new Adobe Digital Publishing Solution product. You must leave CC2014 in place if you want to continue publishing with the old system.

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(Almost) Everything You Wanted to Know about Multi-state Objects

I’m happy to announce the release of my new course, Developing Multi-state Objects with InDesign. The idea for this course came about from the myriad questions I’ve received and read in the Adobe forums as well as the little quirks I’ve found while working on multi-state objects (MSOs) for both Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) and/or fixed layout EPUB.

While most of the movies in the course are applicable to both DPS and EPUB there are a few that only pertain to one or the other. I hope you’ll find it helpful and informative should you be working on a project for DPS or EPUB.

So, why the Almost in the title of this post? There are still a few bugs in in EPUB export (particularly with anchored buttons) that made it difficult to demo some of the neat little tricks you can do and I didn’t want to do anything that might be confusing but overall, I think it’s a fairly comprehensive look at MSOs and should get the wheels turning for your own DPS or EPUB projects. There is as with all courses, a feedback button and you can reach me that way or through comments on this post. Either way, I look forward to your feedback.

While I’m on the topic of lynda courses, while I was in California recording this course I recorded a few updated movies for my Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Essential Training course so be sure to check that out, as well.

If you don’t have a subscription, you can get a 10-day trial by visiting

Why I’m Finally Excited About EPUB

Fixed Layout EPUB is now a viable alternative to DPS SE apps.

Fixed Layout EPUB is now a viable alternative to DPS SE apps.

EPUB has been around as an official standard for years, but it’s not a format I ever got overly excited about. While I readily admit to being a geek, cracking open EPUBs to edit what is arguably some of the worst HTML and CSS I’ve ever seen wasn’t something I really wanted to spend my time doing. Add to the fact that just as EPUB was gaining steam, DPS came along in 2010 and my focus moved in that direction. I really haven’t looked back…until now.

When Adobe launched InDesign CC2014 they added fixed layout EPUB as one of the formats it was capable of exporting to. It was a nice start but it was a very static format and wasn’t really capable of much in the way of interactivity especially when compared to DPS. Fast forward a few months to the release of InDesign CC2014.1 (hey, I didn’t come up with this naming convention) and I think FXL EPUB is finally ready for prime time. The support of interactive features like MSOs, buttons, web content, and animations (something DPS still can’t do) while  maintaining the layout makes it a viable choice for publishing rich, interactive content.

The support of interactive features like MSOs, buttons, web content, and animations (something DPS still can’t do) while  maintaining the layout makes it a viable choice for publishing rich, interactive content.

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New Creative Cloud Applications are Coming. What You Need to Know.

Let’s  think back for a moment to the days of Creative Suite. Every 12 to 24 months, depending up the release, Adobe would announce and ship new versions of its creative software. It was left to the users to decide if they wanted to buy the upgrade or not and when. In 2012 Adobe announced Creative Cloud while simultaneously continuing the sale of Creative Suite on a perpetually licensed basis. After what amounted to a one year experiment, a decision was made to move to a subscription only plan. Part of the promise of that plan was faster rollout of new features and the inclusion of new versions of the applications all at a set monthly price.

For the past year, Adobe has kept the promise of new features, steadily rolling out improvements, and on June 18, they will be webcasting the announcement of their newest release of Creative Cloud. That’s right, all new versions of your favorite Adobe applications such as InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Muse. The reason for this post is to alert you to the fact that this coming and to explain the difference between this and the past Creative Cloud updates.

In a webcast scheduled for June 18, Adobe will be revealing the next generation of Creative Cloud.

In a webcast scheduled for June 18, Adobe will be revealing the next generation of Creative Cloud.

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Digital Publishing Suite 101: How to Hide a Slideshow

Creating a slideshow using InDesign for a Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) folio is done using multi state objects (MSOs). One of the choices in the folio overlays panel for slideshows is to Hide Before Playing. At first glance this would be of good use when you don’t want your content to show. But once the slideshow is played, there’s no way to hide it again. So, what to do when you want to be able to not only show content in a slideshow but also hide it?

The answer is actually quite simple. Because each state in an MSO can contain just about anything, we’re going to add a state to our MSO that to your reader, looks like nothing. Let’s see how it’s done.

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My First Title, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Essential Training, is Live!

I’m proud to announce that my first course is now live. The title, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, is Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Essential Training. If you’re just starting out with, or if you just want to get an overview of DPS and how it works with InDesign and other Creative Cloud applications such as Muse and Edge Animate, this course is for you. While I cover some of the back end information, this course, at its core, is an overview of how to create and work with interactive overlays. I tried to throw a tip or two in each lesson and hope you’ll find it a good starting point with DPS.

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Digital Publishing Suite 101: Using Transparent Edge Animate Files with PDF Folios

The latest version of Edge Animate was released recently and one of the new features was the ability to save with a transparent poster image. That was a great addition but when I tried to place the OAM file in InDesign and tested it out, I still had a black background.


I did a bit of digging and found out the transparent background only works on PNG and JPG articles. I always use PDF format for folios so rasterizing everything was not something I wanted to do. Then I remembered a post on the User to User forums a while back with a great tip on how to get this working on PDF folios.

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Why Creative Cloud Subscription Software is Here to Stay

Adobe has gone all in with Creative Cloud. Do you really understand what that means?

Love it or hate it, Creative Cloud is not going away. It’s time to deal with it.

It’s been more than six months since Adobe announced that it was going to a subscription-only business model for its Creative Suite applications while rebranding them under the Creative Cloud name. Today, there’s still a very vocal group of people blasting Adobe for that decision. I’ve had a few debates (okay, more than a few) about the topic and  I’m using this post to spell out why I believe that those waiting for Adobe to back down and offer perpetual licenses will not get what they want. The post isn’t so much about defending Adobe—though I do think they have a right to run their business any way they see fit—but to explain why I think they moved to this business model and why it won’t be reversed.

The idea for this post started when I was asked why I’m fighting those that are against Adobe and Creative Cloud. The fact is, I’m not fighting anyone or anything; I’m just looking at the reality of the situation and the current climate in the software industry. More choices would, in theory, be better. But in practice those choices would cost Adobe millions of dollars. Two licensing models and thousands of SKUs for suites and individual products doesn’t come cheap and it most certainly doesn’t carry with it a guarantee of any return on that investment.

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